Congregations’ Statement of Conscience

Ulster County Sanctuaries Stand as One

 We Are All Immigrants

(acknowledging that our society includes Native Americans as well as those whose forebears were brought here against their will)

Statement of Conscience – Statement of Faith

Endorsing our Shared Tradition of Audacious Hospitality

 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. – Pastor Niemoller 

We will not be silent. Ulster County Houses of Worship Stand as One. We are all immigrants.

As people of faith we affirm our commitment to Audacious Hospitality, to treating the strangers in our midst with justice and compassion, with the very dignity, respect and love with which we hope to be treated.  Scripture teaches:

When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. – Leviticus 19:33

We once again lay claim to our shared ancient heritage of protecting the vulnerable – those who are being threatened with deportation. We do not acknowledge the crossing of borders without authorization for reasons of survival to be a crime. And those who have endured such a perilous passage remain entitled to our care and compassion.

We affirm the enduring moral legitimacy of Sanctuary even though it may no longer have legal standing. We expect federal immigration agents and their surrogates to honor those established protocols that designate houses of worship as sensitive locations in which immigrants are not apprehended. If sanctuary is going to be violated, then we expect that this will never happen without a warrant signed by a federal judge.

We affirm the need to protect the lives and well being of undocumented immigrants fearing deportation. We pledge to resist all efforts to target and deport millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminate against marginalized communities. Undocumented immigrants are our neighbors; they are our friends. We are co-workers; our children study together. We affirm our responsibility to protect all members of our community, especially those targeted by hate.

We affirm the sanctity of family. Parents ought not be traumatically separated from their children. Husbands or wives ought not be forcibly separated from their spouses. Our doors will remain open for every person to find shelter, protection, and sanctuary in God’s house. Every person in our community deserves the right to live without fear.

As a community we stand as ONE, committed to various meaningful actions to assist undocumented immigrants facing deportation. Among these actions there will be some Houses of Worship in our community that will be providing temporary physical shelter. All of us will rally to provide necessary ancillary supports as we are able.

 

Rabbi Yael Romer, Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley, Kingston

The Rev. Frank Alagna, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church, Kingston

The Rev. Filomena Servellon, Holy Cross/Santa Cruz Episcopal Church, Kingston

The Rev. Canon Jeff Golliher, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Ellenville

The Rev. Alison Quin, Christ the King Episcopal Church, Stone Ridge

The Rev. Paul Smith, Overlook United Methodist Church, Woodstock

Shady United Methodist Church, Shady

The Rev. Jordan Scruggs, St. James United Methodist Church, Kingston (in her own name)

The Rev. Erica Baron, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills

The Rev. William Hill, Saugerties

The Rev. Justin Johnson, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Kingston, (in his own name)

The Rev. Deacon Susan Bonsteel, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Kingston

The Rev. Richard Witt, Rural and Migrant Ministries

The Rev. James Rowe, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kingston

The Rev. Darlene Kelley, Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church, Kingston

The Rev. Jeremy Mills, Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church, Kingston

The Rev. Renee House, Old Dutch Reformed Church, Kingston

The Rev. Paul C. Walley — Member, Redeemer Lutheran Church, New Paltz

Supply Pastor for Hudson Valley ELCA churches

The Rev. Sonja Tillberg Maclary, Christ Lutheran Church, Woodstock

The Rev. James Childs., Pointe of Praise Church, Kingston

The Rev. Kendra Van Houten, Fair Street Reformed Church, Kingston

The Rev. Elke Heckler, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Kingston

The Rev. James B. Childs, Pointe of Praise Church, Kingston

The Rev. Bruce Torrey, Food for the Poor

The Rev. Doris Edwards, Riverview Missionary Baptist Church, Kingston

The Rev. Deacon Teri Jones, Ascencion Church, Ulster Park

The Rev. Matthew Wright, St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church,  Woodstock

The Rev. Michelle Meech, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Kingston

Covenanting Denominations